ERIC Number: ED477857
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2003-Apr-21
Boys and Literacy: Why Boys? Which Boys? Why Now?
Many school systems are facing mandated, systemic change, through the imposition of standards-based reform. Ontario (Canada) is no different than many other jurisdictions. Mandated, systemic change has impacted teaching and learning in Ontario classrooms. The issue of boys' underachievement in literacy appears to resurface whenever student achievement results emerge as a public issue. Gendered approaches to educational results, given the discourse, are not new but timely. This paper explores, through the use of focus groups, some of the attitudes and beliefs that boys hold toward reading and writing as they impact the high-stakes tests. The Durham District School Board has approximately 70,000 students in 125 schools. Although the district performs in the top 15% of districts in the provincial assessments, gendered results continue to exist. A study examined some of the attitudes of boys regarding issues involving reading and writing in classrooms and on the provincial tests. A series of semi-structured focus groups were conducted with boys in grades 4 and 6 in three schools in which boys performed well in literacy and three schools where boys underperformed compared to their female peers. Focus groups were limited to five volunteer students in each of the six schools for a total of 30 boys participating in the groups. All students, especially young males, wanted more choice in what they read in school--boys wanted more science fiction and high action books. So teacher-librarians began to gather high-interest reading resources for boys including informational text, magazines, science fiction, and action fiction. (Contains 44 references.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (84th, Chicago, IL, April 21-25, 2003).